The One Missing Tip in This Giant List of Legal Tips

A recent series of legal tips on Hotel News Now attempts to provide hotel owners and operators with practical steps to overcome common human resources pitfalls.

Article 1:  26 legal tips for hotel HR professionals

Article 2: More legal tips for hotel HR professionals

There are 50 tips stretching over these two articles. 50 is a great number for a scholarly dissertation. But I feel like it is not a practical number with which to encourage decisive action.

So I have a tip I’d like to throw in that boils this down to one thought. I’ll get to that in a minute.

But first let’s review some of their tips:

Some of the tips are quite involved. Take this one.

23. Be aware of local and state laws that have a lower threshold to establish claims for hostile work environments and individual liability, Gilman said. The trend is highlighted by a recent case in New York in which the court found state law to be more expansive than federal law.

Hotel management companies manage hotels across the country. By some estimates, there are more than 4,000 different labor laws to comply with for a business that operates in all 50 states.

This chart looks at the trend of federal labor laws.


(Click to enlarge)

The fun continues.

31. Beware of federal agencies stepping up enforcement, such as wage and hour enforcement by the U.S. Department of Labor, Ilene Berman, a partner with Atlanta-based Taylor English Duma, LLP said, adding she’s seeing a lot more on-site audits from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and DOL.

The DOL (Department of Labor) isn’t the only agency stepping up enforcement. The Department of Homeland Security, among others, is also getting in on the act.

But, wait! There’s more.

Your company has terminated an employee. Has it followed these steps?

48. In order to avoid successful retaliation claims, 1) have an anti-retaliation policy, 2) train, 3) address performance issues, 4) give candid evaluations, 5) document decisions to terminate, 6) be aware of timing, and 7) document, document, document, Gilman said.

Has your HR department put together such policies? Have they been this meticulous with their procedures and documentation? If not, can your company afford to risk a potential incident down the line?

My Bonus Tip to You

Unfortunately, few companies have the time, money or resources to tackle this entire list the way it should be tackled.

So let’s boil the 50 tips down to one missing tip:

Get yourself a legal team together, and get it together now.

Review all your employment practices and procedures before plaintiff’s attorneys or the Feds force you to.

The lawyers have won.

If you can’t beat them, join them.


Matt Lucas, CHAE is director of hospitality at Alternative Employer Solutions, a hospitality industry HR outsourcing consulting company. To find out how hotel owners and operators control costs and reduce risk by outsourcing HR functions, download his free report at hotelpeo.com. Matt can be reached directly at mlucas@hotelpeo.com.


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